As I’m sure many other people do, I write down quotes that amuse me.
Many of these come from the mouths of the two delightful assistants, aka my mum and dad, and I record them in this book:
It’s quite old, this notebook. In fact, it dates back to the 1960s, when it belonged to my dad.
He had the idea of using it to record the books he’d read and the first 18 pages have a book title on each one.
This is the very first entry, showing a book that was read to him in 1967 (by my eldest brother, he thinks), and then read by him on three more occasions before 1970. He must have really liked it.
I’ve tried to do this sort of thing myself, but I invariably forget to add some books as I finish them and eventually the project dies a natural death.
Much more successful has been my recording of quotes.
Over the years my dear pater has been getting deafer and deafer and some of the quotes that tickle me most are those involving his mishearing of things other people say. The quotes that follow will probably appeal to my immediate family more than anyone else, but you might be able to imagine the amusement caused.
My sister: “I want to see your receipt.”
Dad: “My feet?”
My sister: “RECEIPT!”
Dad: “Oh. I thought you were thinking about getting me slippers for Christmas.”
Mum: “There’s three bags to take to Flora’s.”
Dad: “Did you say something to me about teabags?”
My sister: “I meant to bring slips.”
Dad: “You met Prince Philip?”
Dad: “I think I”ll have a wee sit down.”
Mum: “I think you should have a big sit down.”
Dad: “Yes, I think I will have a biscuit.”
Recently my mum’s started to mishear things occasionally, too, such as the time when there was excavation work being done in the garden and one of the diggers (a JCB) got an oil leak.
Lorna: “Dad gave a hand towel to Derek, the boy with the JCB.”
Mum: “What boy who died of TB?”
Both of the parents can be quite droll.
Lorna: “I know a trick with a cake.”
Mum: “Do you? It’s called the vanishing trick. You vanish with the cake, is that right?”
My brother Fergus: “The Tay and Forth bridges were closed.”
Mum: “Entirely closed?”
Dad: “No, just half way across.”
Mum: “You really are looking slimmer today.”
Dad: “I’m wearing a tight vest.”
Lorna (to Dad): “And what made you change your mind?”
Mum: “Common sense.”
Dad: “Or a nagging wife.”
Mum: “It comes to the same thing.”
If you’ve read this far you’ll be needing a picture by now. Here’s an apple and cranberry scone I had earlier this week at Gloagburn Farm Shop and Tearoom:
In addition to the book of quotes I’m thinking of collecting together my mum’s wise sayings. These are statements that she comes out with now and then, and in which she appears to believe completely and utterly. For example:
“It’s easier to get a fat person thin than a thin person fat.”
“The hours before midnight are more beneficial than those after.”
When I was at university one of my chums was entertained by the fact that I often wrote down word for word the things our lecturers said. My lecture notes frequently had things scribbled on them in quotation marks, and after seeing me do this she began doing it herself.
Little did I know that she was transferring them into a notebook which she eventually gave me for Christmas, on the front of which she had written “Lorna’s little book”.
I still have that book and some of the quotes inside it are from a rather eccentric chap who taught Behavioural Ecology. He was a bit absent-minded but very sincere and liked to make sure that we understood what he was trying to get across.
“There’s a meeting for those studying biological sciences. That’s biological science students.”
(on describing the behaviour of bee-eaters) “A bird is cleaning out a hole. You could call that hole-cleaning.”
“They move around in groups of one, which isn’t really a group at all, is it?”
Back at Gloagburn, before I ate the scone pictured above I had a very filling and tasty sandwich. If I were to ask you to guess the filling I wonder what you’d say:
The sandwich filling was, in fact, curried banana chutney with cheese.
Lastly, here’s something my dad said to a nurse at the local medical centre recently when he was going for a general health check. I can imagine him speaking in his usual confident manner, and the nurse looking astonished. He says her eyebrows shot up as he was speaking.
Nurse: “How tall are you?”
Dad: “I can’t remember it in metric but I do remember the feet and inches: 8 ft 5. When I went into the army they measured me and said they’d build me up. Do people shrink as they get older? Because I think I’m smaller than I used to be.”